Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:
Synopsis for If I Wake (from Goodreads):
Will is sixteen year old Lucy’s best friend. Their lives intersect in dreams, where destiny pulls them together through different times in history. Even though their meetings are more real to Lucy than the present, Lucy is uncertain if Will exists outside her mind.
Lucy’s mum thinks there is something wrong when Lucy sleeps for days at a time.
She is so caught up with finding a cure she doesn’t see the real problem. Lucy is bullied at school and is thinking of ending her life.
When the bullying goes too far and Lucy ends up in a coma, only Will can reach her. But how do you live when the only person who can save you doesn’t exist?
SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite YA Standalone 2017
Author: Nikki Moyes
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Magical Realism, Mental Health
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: August 10, 2016
Source & Format: Author–eARC
Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:
This story appealed to me for two reasons:
- The dream aspect
- Bullying & Lucy’s contemplating suicide
I’m a firm believer that mental health is something we should always be talking about and I love when books explore that. So I was curious to see how the dreams would interweave with Nikki’s message about bullying.
While the traveling back in time aspect is great, for me it was all about the bullying. And this is a beautiful story about how your actions impact a person. It was so hard for me to watch Lucy get beaten down in her everyday life. I remember thinking to myself that this can’t happen in real life because there is no way people could be so cruel.
But the scary thing is that it does.
All the things Lucy goes through have more than likely happened to someone at some point. It’s probably happening right now. And I think you can see why those actions can lead someone to feel like they are alone in the world and how that can lead them to contemplate suicide. I think this book does a fabulous job of conveying that. The only other book I can think that shows this so well is 13 Reasons Why.
I absolutely loved trying to figure out what the dream world had to do with the real world. And I’ll admit, I really didn’t figure it out until the last chapter. It was like this big eureka moment for me where I put it all together and my mind was blown a bit because it was a great link. (And I don’t want to say more because I think it’s a great thing for the readers to figure out on their own).
The trips to the past were definitely enjoyable. I liked that the situation was always a little different with what Lucy had to do and how she was received. They’re very detailed scenes and it really makes you feel like you are there living the experience with Lucy.
Lucy’s character evolution is fantastic, even if some of the moments were disheartening. It was so hard for me to watch this girl get beaten down (in the real world) at every turn for no reason at all. (Why are people so cruel?!?) Which is why I liked those moments in the dreams where she literally transforms into a confident person before your eyes. It was great to see her have those moments of joy in her life.
There really isn’t a romance here which I was happy about. This story is truly about Lucy’s self journey and not so much on what her relationship with Will is romantically (which I’m sure lots of people will assume given the synopsis).
My Rating: 5/5
This is just a fabulous story about the multi-layered impact bullying can have on a person. Such a beautiful novel.
Read if You Like: realistic fiction, magical realism, bullying stories
Avoid if You: want a romance
- Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
- Sing Sweet Nightingale by Erica Cameron (The Dream War Saga #1)
This looks interesting! I have to admit, though, that I’m more interested in the dream part than the bullying part. I definitely agree that bullying is an important topic that needs addressed, but I’m kind of past the point in my life where it’s something I feel I need to personally read about.
stephaniesbookreviews recently posted…Reviewing the Unreviewed: April 2017
I feel the same way too as I get older when it comes to YA novels. It’s been so long since I was in high school that I have a hard time connecting with those stories. (And thankfully, my high school was never like that!). But I think we can all find connections where someone has put us down at one time or another even if it wasn’t full fledged or consistent bullying like someone might experience in school.
It’s a great story though and I love how important the dreams were integrated into the narrative.